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Trending: Mantha, Larkin clicking; Rasmussen making good impression

Michigan-born Penguins weigh in on Little Caesars Arena

by Dana Wakiji and Art Regner @Dwakiji and @ArthurJRegner /

DETROIT - It wasn't quite the full Red Wings squad nor the full Pittsburgh Penguins team.

But no matter the circumstances, the Wings are always happy to beat the Penguins, which they did, 4-1, at Little Caesars Arena Monday night.

Michael Rasmussen (power play), Anthony Mantha, Tomas Tatar and Xavier Ouellet (empty net) were Detroit's goal scorers.

1. Anthony Mantha/Dylan Larkin: Wings coach Jeff Blashill put Mantha on Larkin's line at the start of training camp to see if the two could create some chemistry in the early going. So far that has worked out. In the second period, Mantha drove to the net and beat Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. Dennis Cholowski and Larkin had the assists. In three preseason games, Mantha has two goals and three assists while Larkin has one goal and three assists. Blashill originally wanted Justin Abdelkader on that line but Abdelkader is nursing a sore groin so Martin Frk has played there the last two games. Larkin played 21:39, the most among the forwards, and finished plus-2 while Mantha played 17:33 and was plus-1

1. Quotable: "Larkin and Mantha, they're two real good players. I think they could be a real dynamic pairing for sure." - Blashill

2. Michael Rasmussen: Coming out of camp, Blashill said that he would play Rasmussen, the Wings' 2017 first-round pick, ninth overall, in at least one exhibition game. On Monday night, Rasmussen played in his third game, first at Little Caesars Arena. At 13:14 of the first period, Rasmussen went to the net and beat Jarry for the first goal of the game, his second of the preseason. Gustav Nyquist and Joe Hicketts assisted. Rasmussen also screened Jarry on Tomas Tatar's second-period goal at 11:02. Although Rasmussen is scheduled to return to his junior team, the Tri-City Americans, at some point, he is making a strong impression in his first NHL camp.

Quotable: "It was a good start in the first period by the team, and a good pass by Nyquie there and I managed to get it in. Definitely gives me confidence. I've just got to prove that I deserve to be there and all that." - Rasmussen

Quotable II: "It was obviously nice for him to score there. I thought he played pretty well. I thought in the D zone he just has to learn to move his feet a little bit more to close so that we don't spend time defending. He made a real good pass late in the game to Tats that could have resulted in something. I thought he played pretty well. I was happy with him." - Blashill

3. View from the opposition: While the Wings are raving about their new home rink, a couple of native Michiganders on the Penguins got their first look at Little Caesars Arena. Penguins forward Bryan Rust, born in Pontiac, and defenseman Ian Cole from Ann Arbor played their first game there Monday night. Both players saw a lot of Red Wings games growing up and they also played a lot of hockey at Joe Louis Arena during their youth hockey days and playing for Notre Dame in college. After the game was over, one player longed for the old Joe, while the other was awestruck by Detroit's new hockey haven.

Quotable: "I was always partial to Joe Louis playing there as a kid growing up going up against Little Caesars, playing there early on in my (pro) career and watching a ton of games at Joe Louis and watching a ton of Red Wings games in general; very partial to Joe Louis. But they did a great job with this, it's a beautiful building. I was sad to see Joe Louis go, but it was time for an upgrade. As much history as it had, you have to keep up with the times and this building goes above and beyond that." - Ian Cole

Quotable II: "It's spectacular. I haven't gotten the chance to see everything, see the outside, the concourse and all that stuff, but just the way they've done everything, they've done it right. It's a testament to all involved. It's a testament to the whole city." - Bryan Rust

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